Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates has warned the next pandemic may arise from a “virus that we already know about,” in an interview with El Diario on Sunday. He added that there is a 50% chance the next plague could appear within 20 years. In addition to a known virus, the next pandemic could be a human-made bioterror agent, or “something that makes the leap from the natural world” due to climate change, he said. Gates’ philanthropic efforts focus primarily on vaccination and climate change.
To ward off the next pandemic, countries must spend billions of dollars on researching potential pathogens, Gates suggested, calling for the creation of a 3,000-strong team of specialists with just such an assignment in his book published earlier this month. The task force, titled with the clever acronym GERM (Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization), would be funded via the World Health Organization, which would require an extra $1 billion per year – a 25% budgetary increase – so that it can be constantly on the lookout for potential outbreaks.